It is as if Queen Elizabeth didn’t have enough to worry about with her kids, what with Prince Andrew embroiled in controversy with the now deceased Jeffrey Epstein and underage girls. And then there is Meghan and Harry “leaving” the Royal family.
Now Prince Charles has appointed singer Katy Perry as ambassador of his British Asian Trust philanthropic project. That hasn’t gone over very well and highlights some of the challenges of relying on celebrity to get a message out.
Everyone’s favorite new venting tool, Twitter, just about exploded when a white American woman was appointed to a British charity that targets Asia. It didn’t help when the Twitterverse pointed out that Perry had previously performed as what could be considered culturally appropriating minorities. In one case she wore a geisha outfit at an awards ceremony.
Some on Twitter didn’t point out the insensitivities but argued that there are plenty of British Asia celebrities who could have been tapped for the role. Prince Charles launched the anti-poverty charity in 2007.
Celebrity can be a challenge. Nonprofit managers should alert donors that they need to be realistic and not assume that questionable behavior of a celebrity is the responsibility of the charity that partnered with their famous friend, especially if the incident(s) were not previously demonstrated by the specified celebrity, according to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance in Arlington, Va.
The BBB Wise Giving Alliance suggests:
- Don’t rely on a celebrity as the sole indicator of a charity’s reliability, check with outside sources such as BBB WGA.
- While some fundraising events featuring celebrities can be expensive, charities may value the public attention to their cause.
- Be wary of newly established charities that offer little beyond a celebrity connection.
- If a celebrity misbehaves, weigh the whole situation and especially how the charity handles it.
- While some altruistic celebrities have long histories with a charity, when you make a donation decision, the charity needs to gain your confidence as well
It should be noted that Perry has served without incident as an UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2013.